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Backgrounds: Croatia Government
The Croatian Parliament, also known as the Sabor, became a unicameral body after its Upper House (Chamber of Counties) was eliminated by constitutional amendment in March 2001. The remaining body, the Chamber of Representatives, consists of 151 members who serve 4-year terms elected by direct vote. The Sabor meets twice a year--from January 15 to July 15 and from September 15 to December 15.
The powers of the legislature include enactment and amendment of the Constitution, passage of laws, adoption of the state budget, declarations of war and peace, alteration of the boundaries of the Republic, and carrying out elections and appointments to office. During the parliamentary elections of January 2000, six parties united to form a coalition government (SDP, HSLS, HSS, IDS, LS and HNS). The IDS left the coalition in June 2001. In July 2002, the HSLS left the coalition, after which it split into two parties, Libra and the HSLS. Libra remained in the coalition.
The president is the head of state and is elected by direct popular vote for a term of 5 years. The president is limited to serving no more than two terms. In addition to being the commander in chief, the president appoints the prime minister and Cabinet members with the consent of Parliament. Following the death of President Tudjman, the powers of the presidency were curtailed and greater responsibility was vested in Parliament.
The prime minister, who is nominated by the president, assumes office following a parliamentary vote of confidence in the new government. The prime minister and government are responsible for proposing legislation and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies of the republic.
Croatia has a three-tiered judicial system, consisting of the Supreme Court, county courts, and municipal courts. Croatia's Supreme Court is the highest court in the Republic. The Supreme Court assures the uniform application of laws. Members of the high court are appointed by the National Judicial Council, a body of 11 members, and justices on the Supreme Court are appointed for life. The court's hearings are generally open to the public.
The Constitutional Court is a body of 13 judges appointed by Parliament for an 8-year term. The Constitutional Court works to assure the conformity of all laws to the Constitution.
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